Building Negative Keywords List While Building a Keyword List Could Save You Big Time!

Today I want to talk about the value of building a negative keywords list prior to launching a campaign as well as building a keyword list while you’re conducting keyword research.

Often as part of a weekly optimization task, people review weekly search terms and add negative keywords. Many negative keywords can actually be added from the very beginning of campaign set-up, so you don’t waste money from the start.

Let’s look at these two scenarios: first, how to go ahead and bulk upload a negative keyword list and, second, how to build a keyword list while you’re doing your keyword research.

Our example company will be a private investigations firm.

When to Use a Pre-built Negative Keywords List

Inside the keyword planner tool as an example, I inserted asset investigations as part of my keyword research for my private investigations client.

build negative keywords list

Scrolling down, I have already pre-found a couple of types of keywords, namely training and course. These are common types of keywords that should be removed since they don’t apply to the business in this example.

build negative keywords lists

We use pre-built lists that contain common negative keywords to exclude from the very start of a campaign.

When to Use a Negative Keywords List: Industry Specific

However, our general keyword list would not work for negative keywords that have to do with a specific industry.

build negative keywords lists

If we dig further, we can see the word badge. Private investigator badge is particular to this client’s industry, so we would want to create a negative keyword list that is particular to this industry. The client does not have anything to do with the badge.

Another keyword that shows up is private investigator equipment. This client doesn’t sell equipment. They are actually the private investigator, so this would be another keyword where we want to add it to a negative keyword list that is specific to this client.

Using a Pre-built Negative Keyword List

Let’s start with the words training and course. You can access my prebuilt keyword list here.

build negative keywords list

You’ll see there are lots of keywords already included on this list. This list of negative keywords weeds out all the different searches resulting from job seekers, reference searches, statisticians, and more. In our example for the keywords training and courses, we can use the prebuilt list to remove these terms and others associated with training.

build negative keywords list


Name the negative keyword list and paste your selected keywords here. Be sure that you put modifiers on each side, so we’re going to actually want to put parentheses around each negative keyword on the list.

CLICK SAVE AND THE NEGATIVE KEYWORD LIST IS APPLIED. However, this keyword list is not actually functioning on a particular campaign. When I go to build my campaigns, I’m going to want to make sure before I go live that I actually apply this negative keyword list to the particular campaigns that it applies.

Building a Negative Keyword List from Scratch

Regarding negative keywords that are industry-specific, we must build a list from scratch. In our example, we want to create an industry-specific list for badges and equipment – both unique to this particular company and words we don’t want to use.

build negative keywords list

We’re going to build a brand new list and for our example, we’re going to call this list Phenix Investigations Keyword Intention is Not Right. The keywords that we’re adding to this particular campaign are not right for Phenix Investigations. Here we’ll add badges and equipment using modifiers as we did previously for our other list.


These negative keyword lists are going to be huge time-savers when it comes to going through your search terms. Rather than identifying search terms in each individual ad group and adding terms, you are going to be infinitely more efficient by creating a list that you can apply across the entire campaign. So again, it’s best to create negative keyword lists that you build at the same time that you’re building your plan for the keywords that you want to go after.

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